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NCAA approves Division I autonomy proposal

NCAA approves Division I autonomy proposal Photo: G Fiume/Getty Images

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors voted Thursday to approve a new governance structure granting more rule-making autonomy to the nation's five wealthiest conferences.

Individual schools will have the opportunity to veto the new structure over the next 60 days. If 75 of 351 D-I schools vote in opposition of the structure, it would be reconsidered by the board. The structure would be suspended with 125 votes. 

The structure will allow schools in the so-called Power 5 conferences (Big Ten, ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12) to approve new benefits for athletes, including stipends covering the full cost of attendance and extended medical care.

The structure, which will be discussed at the NCAA convention in January, could be put into place by mid-2015.

College sports administrators, such as the SEC's Mike Slive, had suggested that if autonomy were not achieved, the Power 5 schools could consider breaking off from the rest of D-I.

More: Talk of a Division IV? No matter what, current structure must change​

The approval of the new structure comes as the NCAA faces intense scrutiny and litigation over its economic model and enforcement arm.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said at his conference's media days in July that NCAA enforcement is "broken" and added his opinion that "it's not an understatement to say cheating pays presently."

U.S. District judge Claudia Wilken has yet to issue a verdict on the Ed O'Bannon class-action anti-trust case, which could allow athletes to receive a cut of the massive television revenues from game broadcasts.

The college governing body faces several other lawsuits, including one from prominent attorney Jeffrey Kessler that seeks to create a free market by removing the cap on player compensation.

- Chris Johnson

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